Livestock and poultry producers who suffered losses during the pandemic because of insufficient access to processing can apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on July 13 announced the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) in [recorded] remarks at the National Pork Industry Conference in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

The announcement is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Livestock and poultry producers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency July 20 through Sept. 17.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, authorized payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020, through Dec. 26, 2020, because of insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. PLIP payments will be based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal. Eligible livestock and poultry include swine, chickens and turkeys, but pork producers are expected to be the primary recipients of the assistance.

The previous administration proposed pandemic assistance using flat rates across the industry, which does not take into account the different levels of harm felt by different producers. Pork industry supported analysis projected that disruptions in processing capacity in the pork supply chain create a situation with small hog producers and especially those that sell on the spot market or negotiate prices, bear a disproportionate share of losses.

USDA has examined the difference between the negotiated prices for hogs and the five-year average and documented a significant drop during April through September of 2020 because of the pandemic. USDA has set aside up to $50 million in pandemic assistance funds to provide additional assistance for small hog producers that use the spot market or negotiate prices. Details on the additional targeted assistance are expected to be available this summer.

For the PLIP, eligible livestock must have been depopulated from March 1, 2020, through Dec. 26, 2020, because of insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. Livestock must have been physically located in the U.S. or a territory of the U.S. at the time of depopulation.

Eligible livestock owners include people or legal entities who, as of the day the eligible livestock was depopulated, had legal ownership of the livestock. Packers, live poultry dealers and contract growers are not eligible for PLIP.

PLIP payments compensate participants for 80% of both the loss of the eligible livestock or poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal based on a single payment rate per head. PLIP payments will be calculated by multiplying the number of head of eligible livestock or poultry by the payment rate per head, and then subtracting the amount of any payments the eligible livestock or poultry owner has received for disposal of the livestock or poultry under the Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program or a state program.

The payments will also be reduced by any Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 1 and 2) payments paid on the same inventory of swine that were depopulated.

There is no per person or legal entity payment limitation on PLIP payments. To be eligible for payments, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $900,000 for tax years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Eligible livestock and poultry producers can apply for PLIP starting July 20 by completing the FSA-620, Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program application, and submitting it to any FSA county office.